With nearly 61 percent of the first vote drop and the Seattle Times calling the race in her favor, Jenny Durkan will almost certainly be Seattle's next mayor.
In a speech to supporters at The Westin, Durkan pledged to fight the Trump administration, provide high school students with free community college, and address homelessness.
"It's a campaign about what Seattle will be like for that next generation and you have committed to making it the best Seattle ever," she said. "I know there's a lot of votes left to be counted—and anyone who knows me knows I like to count every single vote—but I have to tell you we are feeling really, really good about where we are."
Seattle's first woman for mayor in nearly 100 years, the former U.S. attorney made the case on the campaign trail that her résumé proved she was most qualified to run a city with 12,000 employees and a $6 billion budget. That message appears to have come across.
The campaign chose State Senator Reuven Carlyle to announce the first results to Tuesday night's crowd and Carlyle hit that theme immediately: "The most qualified, capable, thoughtful, gracious, progressive, insightful, entrepreneurial, dignified, generous, great hope, unbelievably qualified woman, Jenny Durkan," he said. "Sixty percent!"
Another Durkan supporter, Charlene Strong, praised Durkan's experience in an interview with The Stranger before the first results came in. "She's the leadership our city needs," Strong said. "We're not a small, little Seattle anymore. We need somebody with smarts... I've seen her in action. I've seen the work she's done."
But Durkan's campaign—with its record-breaking fundraising—was also buoyed by what has become a predictable and perhaps unbeatable formula in Seattle politics: a business-labor coalition.
Durkan had the early backing of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce; Amazon, Vulcan, Comcast, Starbucks, and other corporations bankrolled an independent expenditure committee advertising on her behalf. Yet, she also won a flood of union endorsements.
Several left-leaning unions backed Durkan opponent Cary Moon, but many of the most prominent, including the Service Employees International Union 775 and the King County Labor Council, stood with Durkan.
"The backbone of our campaign was working families, like our nurses and fire fighters, our healthcare workers, building trades, and longshore workers," Durkan said Tuesday night. "There's a rumor there's labor in the house tonight!"
The lineup closely mirrored the groups that backed former mayor Ed Murray during his successful 2013 run and that stood by him amid sexual abuse allegations this year. (Durkan, who accepted Murray's endorsement, has worked to distinguish herself from the former mayor, saying she will be more collaborative.) Labor unions also backed T-Mobile executive Joe Mallahan in the 2009 mayor's race.
The Chamber and its members have "raised concerns"—sometimes stopping short of explicit opposition—about several high profile worker protections in recent years, including new protections for hourly workers facing unpredictable schedules. The group also opposed a tax on businesses to fund labor law enforcement, a proposal backed by unions. But, in city elections at least, establishment labor has left behind a sense of class conflict with these bosses and embraced them instead.
"They want a consensus candidate," the Labor Council's executive secretary treasurer Nicole Grant told me in August about members of her group. "They want business and labor to get along and move an agenda forward that is the antithesis of what Donald Trump is moving forward."
(The Chamber has also opposed efforts to reduce the number of homeless encampment sweeps, which has given them common ground with labor groups like the Fire Fighters Union.)
With another victory for this formula, Seattle is left to choose one of two paths: Side with the Durkan camp, which argues consensus gets shit done. Or figure out a way to join Seattle's fledgling new left.